The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Exodus swells to more than 4.5 million as battle lines shift

Refugees fleeing Ukraine lined up to board buses on April 10 at a border station in Medyka, Poland. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: Sergei Grits/AP/The Washington Post)
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Russian strikes destroyed an airport and damaged several civilian targets, including a school, on Sunday, Ukrainian authorities said, as people continued to flee eastern Ukraine, joining an exodus that now numbers more than 4.5 million refugees.

Russia’s offensive is proceeding on two primary fronts, according to Ukrainian officials, after forces shifted initial efforts to take Kyiv: against the southeastern port city of Mariupol and in Ukraine’s far east, especially the contested Luhansk region. The governor of the eastern Donetsk region said more people should be evacuating in anticipation of potential attacks.

Satellite images released by Maxar, a U.S. space technology firm, show that an eight-mile convoy of Russian military vehicles made its way through eastern Ukraine on Friday, heading south from the town of Velykyi Burluk.

The refocus to the east, away from the largest cities, could prove a challenge for Ukraine’s beleaguered forces and an advantage for Russian troops, who Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted last week are more skilled at fighting in rural terrain.

Here’s what to know

  • For only the second time since Russian forces seized the site in late February, staffers at the Chernobyl plant were able to leave and rotate shifts.
  • Ukraine has opened 5,600 war crimes cases since Russia’s invasion, top prosecutor Iryna Venediktova said Sunday, but the country will face an uphill battle getting Russian officials to court.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday that he spoke to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about sanctions against Russia and Germany’s financial and military support for Ukraine. The two “emphasized that all perpetrators of war crimes must be identified and punished,” Zelensky said. The Post’s Isaac Stanley-Becker explains why the war in Ukraine is a test for the German leader.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates.